SHANKSVILLE – In partnership with the Families and Friends of Flight 93 and the National Park Foundation, Flight 93 National Memorial will break ground (and sound) today on a visual and audible reminder of the courageous actions of the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93. This feature marks the final phase of major construction of the memorial’s original design and will be named the Tower of Voices (TOV). It will stand 93 feet tall and contain 40 wind chimes that will serve as an enduring memory of the voices of the passengers and crew. Construction of the tower will begin in late September with anticipated completion and a dedication ceremony in September 2018.
“There are no other chime structures like this in the world,” said Flight 93 National Memorial Superintendent Steve Clark. “This unique structure will complete all of the major components of our permanent memorial in a most beautiful way. Not only will it be the first thing visitors see and hear when they arrive at the memorial, it will provide an opportunity for reflection as they depart.”
The “soundbreaking” ceremony will take place on Sunday, September 10, at 3:30 p.m. EDT in a field near the entrance of the memorial. After brief remarks and a ceremonial ground turning, visitors will hear an airing of a chimes simulation and view an early prototype of one of the 40 future chimes. To listen to the audio simulation of the chimes and view illustrations of the tower’s design, please visit www.nps.gov/flni/getinvolved/tower-of-voices.htm.
Gordon Felt, President, Families of Flight 93 said, "As we enter into the construction phase of the Tower of Voices, the Families of Flight 93 feel a sense of relief that our heroes' Memorial is nearing completion. We are grateful to our partners at the National Park Service, National Park Foundation and the Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial for the opportunity to work hand in hand from the very beginning in order to create what we feel is an extraordinary memorial to the 40 heroes of Flight 93."
The design and construction of the TOV – totaling nearly $6 million – is being funded by a grant from the National Park Foundation. This contribution is in addition to the more than $40 million the Foundation raised through its Flight 93 National Memorial Capital Campaign to fund reforestation of the park’s landscape and design and construct the park’s Memorial Plaza, Wall of Names, 40 Memorial Groves, and Field of Honor.
“This park is a shining example of the powerful impact that private philanthropy can have in our national parks,” said National Park Foundation President Will Shafroth. “Thanks to contributions from more than 110,000 individuals, foundations and corporations, we’re able to help ensure that the heroes of Flight 93 will be remembered and honored into perpetuity.”
The TOV itself is a musical instrument. The shape and orientation of the tower are designed to optimize air flow through the tower walls to reach the interior chamber. Each of the 40 wind-activated chimes in the tower interior will produce a musical note, that sounds in harmony with surrounding chimes.
“The intent is to create a set of forty tones, or voices, that can express through consonance the serenity and nobility of the site while also through dissonance recalling the event that consecrated the site,” said Architect Paul Murdoch. “The National Park Service, with the help of the design team, has engineered an audio simulation of what these chimes may sound like when they are fully installed next year.”
The chimes will be constructed of polished aluminum tubes measuring eight inches in diameter and approximately five to 10 feet in length. The size of each chime is dependent on the musical note and associated frequency it is intended to produce.
“To our knowledge, tuned chimes of this size and an arrangement in this magnitude are unique in the world,” Murdoch said.
The National Park Service is partnering with EarthCam to provide a live stream of the TOV’s soundbreaking ceremony and construction over the coming year. To view the live stream, visit www.flight93friends.org/plan-your-visit/webcams.
The Flight 93 National Memorial’s annual Luminaria and September 11 Observance will take place on the evening of September 10, and morning of September 11, respectively. The public is encouraged to attend these events and the tower’s “soundbreaking” ceremony. More information is available at nps.gov/flni.
ABOUT FLIGHT 93 NATIONAL MEMORIAL
On September 24, 2002, Congress passed the Flight 93 National Memorial Act. The Act created a new national park unit to commemorate the passengers and crew of Flight 93 who, on September 11, 2001, courageously gave their lives thereby thwarting a planned attack on our nation's capital. The memorial is outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 crashed with the loss of its 40 passengers and crew. For more information about the Flight 93 National Memorial, please visit www.nps.gov/flni.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.